The original vision booklet for the Charlestown and Lower Kersal New Deal for Communities (NDC) stated quite categorically that that "Salford does suffer from an image problem".
It added that "This is a contributing factor for investors and new residents when making decisions to move into the area and to market the NDC area as a place to live."
One of the solutions was to "Maximise the relationship of new (and existing) development with the river, through riverside development" - and one of the NDC's first significant acts was to clear the community from 184 houses in seven streets next to the River Irwell, tin up the houses and appoint Miller Homes as the developer. The streets were Thursfield Street, Reading Street, Chinley Street, Wainman Street, Suffolk Street, Levens Street and part of Littleton Road. No new houses were built to accommodate the displaced community.
For almost five years the houses lay empty, despite the growing housing waiting list in Salford (see here). And exactly one year ago a Salford City Council report announced that the houses were to be demolished at a cost of £350,000 to "help maintain community confidence in the redevelopment process, as it is likely to serve as a powerful signal that the development process is entering a significant phase"… (click here for more details)
The final two houses on this riverside area of Littleton Road were demolished and the area finally cleared and flattened last week. Meanwhile, outline planning permission for Miller Homes and ID4 Living was granted in June this year for the whole Riverside area, including housing proposals for these streets.
Part of the reason that the seven streets were demolished was that "there is a limited choice of housing in the area, with poor choice of family homes for either existing families or to attract new families".
Yet the area is being developed as three storey waterside flats – or as the planning application states "vertical massing – to provide suitable framing, surveillance and landmark presence in key areas such as Littleton Road, Riverside…"
Salford Council acknowledges that there is a 20-25% premium on waterside properties (see here) and these flats, which the developers hope to commence either in the winter of 2011 or beginning of 2012, will be in Phase 1 of the Riverside development. Other Phases, such as the redevelopment of social housing in the Whit Lane area, are spread out until 2025…
When outline planning permission was granted for the masterplan, John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council and Deputy Chair of the NDC said "This represents a real opportunity to open up this spectacular riverside site and to transform this part of Central Salford."
Developers Miller Homes added "Miller Homes are excited about, and remain fully committed to, developing out the Charlestown Riverside site in Salford.
Following gaining outline planning approval in June, we are working with our partners, Inspired Developments, Salford Council, New Deal, Salix Homes and Contour Housing, to draw up detailed plans for the site. Work is ongoing to agree proposals for detailed planning applications & site remediation work that we anticipate will be achieved and concluded during 2011, at which point house building is able to commence."
Meanwhile, the Reading Street sign has joined the Lost Streets of Salford collection…
"Specifically in Central Salford the report notes that developers expressed greater interest in sites fronting onto the River Irwell and suggested that these sites may offer the greatest development potential (in such areas)." NDC Development Framework 2004